Here in Calgary, December 21 is a short, dark day. The sun rises at 8:37AM and sets at 4:32PM, giving us a whopping seven hours, fifty-four minutes, and seventeen seconds with which to go about our daylight requiring business. That’s less than half the daylight we have on the summer solstice in June. We’ve got nothing on the far north, but even somewhere comparatively close (latitude-wise, at least) like Toronto gets noticeably more daylight than we do on the darkest day of the year.
This winter solstice soap is my sudsy tribute to this, the darkest day of the year. With Dead Sea mud and Australian black clay to darken it up, and some clods of white clay and titanium dioxide to act as stars, it’s a striking bar.
I’ve scented it with cajeput and eucalyptus for their clear, cool scents—like that of cold air on a dark winter night. I’ve also added a hint of cade for some smoke, for who wouldn’t want a fire on a night like tonight?
As you might have guessed, this bar can leave a bit of darkness behind. I don’t recommend pairing it with white washcloths, but my test subjects haven’t had any major complaints.
These bars are smooth, smokey, and pretty darn cool. The menfolk I’ve gifted it to love the smokeyness, describing it affectionately with memories of camping trips and smoked meat. I love it, and I think you will, too.
Winter Solstice Soap
25% olive oil (pomace) (USA / Canada)
25% refined coconut oil (USA / Canada)
30% beef tallow
15% unrefined shea butter (USA / Canada)
5% castor oil (USA / Canada)
Per 500g (17.6oz) of oils:
- 14g | 0.49oz cajeput essential oil
- 15g | 0.53oz eucalyptus radiata essential oil (can substitute eucalyptus globulus)
- 1g | 0.03oz cade essential oil (can substitute vetiver or birch tar essential oil—feel free to reduce for a lighter smoke note)
- 1 tbsp Dead Sea mud
- 1 tsp Australian black clay or black iron oxide
- 1 tsp silver mica (optional)
- 1 tbsp white kaolin clay (USA / Canada)
- 1 tsp titanium dioxide
Calculate to 5% superfat.
Use SoapCalc to calculate your final amounts of oils, lye, and water based on the size of batch you want to make.
Follow my standard soap making instructions. When you reach trace, blend in the essential oils, the Dead Sea mud, the Australian black clay, and the silver mica. You should have a dark grey bar—we’re not aiming for pure black to spare you some cleaning. Be sure to use your immersion blender here to get a nice, smooth, even grey tone throughout. Take the batter to a medium trace, like pudding.
Now for the stars. I devised this way of getting stars into the bar from previous lazy clay blending efforts. Basically, clays and oxides like to clump in soap, and unless you blend them in with an immersion blender you’ll get suspended little blobs in your soap. That’s usually not desireable, but it’s exactly what we’re going for here—little white blobs and dots in our “night sky”. So, put away your blender and use a spatula to lightly stir in the white kaolin clay (USA / Canada) and titanium dioxide. You should have lots of little white bits and blobs.
Pour the soap into your mould, tapping the mould on the counter to knock out any air bubbles. Lightly insulate and let saponify for 24 hours. You’ll want to slice these bars with some dental floss or fine wire rather than a knife as the knife drags and will blur/streak your “stars”.
Age for 3–4 weeks before using. Enjoy!
Very cool! I recently made some winter themed soap and wasn’t sure if the bits of undissolved titanium dioxide would be ok to use even though they look great in the soap. Here’s my answer. Thanks!
Yup, it’s just aesthetic 🙂
What a pretty bar of soap. I love the idea. Thanks
Very pretty. I’ve noticed that most of your soap recipes contain kaolin clay. I’ve tried searching to see if you’ve answered this before, but why do you always include it? Does it make the bar harder? Silkier?
Hi Lesley! Clay adds slip to bars, making them lovely for shaving, and I find it boosts cleansing power as well 🙂 I never make a bar without clay these days!
Such a lovely bar! I’m wondering, would the essentials survive making this as a hp project?
From what I’ve read about HP soap you always add the EOs at the end, after the cook. I certainly wouldn’t add them before, I highly doubt they’d survive that.
You really need to sell this soap. This is GORGEOUS!!
I love this so much! 🙂
Will try to make it soon. Hopefully after holiday season is over.
Thank you! Have a wonderful Christmas!
Thanks, Iryna! Enjoy it and happy Christmas 🙂
This soap is just beautiful!
Just stopping by to tell you I so enjoy your blog and look forward to all your posts. Also, wanted to tell you the best prices I have found for soap making supplies in Canada is candorasoap.ca I have done a lot of research to get good pricing. There are a few things they don’t carry. I just purchased a large order from them and was so impressed by the quality and care taken to package every product. Thought I would share that with you and your readers. Have a very Merry Christmas Marie.
from Darlene and Garry, Scratchy, 18 chickens and Max our Rooster here in Nova Scotia.
Hi Darlene! Thanks so much for reading, and for the lead on a new supplier! They look to have some things I’ve never tried, and their prices also look great 🙂 Just what I need—another place to spend money 😉
Thanks as usually for a wonderful receipt!
Could you please tell me (or give a link to where it’s already mentioned) what kind of tallow do you use and where you buy it (food store, market or order online?).
Thanks in advance!
Hi Jevgeni! I chat about tallow (and where to get it) here 🙂
Beautiful soap! sort of an abstract starry sky. We love it, Ms. Monet :0
Have you any problems using this soap with the no-blended blobs of TD and clay?
Thanks, Kristen! I haven’t had any trouble with the blobs, they just break up and wash away 🙂
I love how you use the clay and TD to your advantage. Very clever! Well done and thanks for sharing your process. 🙂 <3
I stumbled onto this post through Pinterest!
The first thing I read was “Calgary, AB” and I got pretty excited! (I’m here, too)
Was looking for a charcoal recipe, I might have to try this one day when I have all the appropriate ingredients and I’m a more experienced soap maker 🙂
Hey! It’s always neat to meet another Calgarian here 🙂 If you’re looking for a simpler charcoal recipe, this one might do the trick 😉
This soap is awesome! I love your blog and your recipes – you have inspired my wife and I to start making soap together! Thanks so much for all the recipes you have shared.
Thanks, Chris! I’m so thrilled 🙂
Hi, can you make this soap with the HP method? If so, what are the differences in the product (if any)?
Hey Elizabeth! You should be able to, but I really have no idea how the aesthetics would work out as I’m not a HP soaper. I don’t think you’ll get the same smooth look I got as most HP soaps end up taking on a sort of mashed potato texture.
Hey thanks Marie! The HP does look rustic and each process has it’s own charm, I guess. But I just love the hardness and smooth bar that CP produces. Your recipes look so amazing I might just ditch the crock pot for a little while and go back to my roots!
Do it 😉 And stay tuned for the post on the 14th of this month—I just tried a slightly new method that I detail in that post.
Great recipe!! What would be a good substitute for tallow as I’m vegan? Thanks
Hi Tamecca! Please read this for some suggestions 🙂 Happy making!
In this recipe do you use Dead Sea Mud (liquid) or Dead Sea Clay? Thanks!
I used the liquid 🙂
Can I ask where you get the Dead Sea Mud in liquid form? I have Googled it and everything is a mud mask. I can’t find the liquid or even the clay that isn’t already moistened into a mask. Thanks.
The runny variety is from Saffire Blue, and I’ve found a stiffer mud from New Directions 🙂
I love the soap.
I was wondering how you made the fractured design at the top.
That’s just how it poured into the mould—I didn’t do anything special 🙂 It’s just the texture of the soap, sort-of smoothed out.
Do cade and cajeput go by other names? I’ve never seen either listed in an essential oil catalog.
Hey Heather! The botanical name for cade is Juniperus oxycedrus, and cajeput is Melaleuca cajeputi. Cade is definitely a bit rare as far as EOs go, but cajeput is fairly common. I got both from New Directions Aromatics 🙂
Does this bar turn out a dark blue or is that just the way it looks in the photo? I love the color! I’m going to try this in the next couple weeks…fingers crossed!
It’s just the photo—it’s very decidedly grey 🙂 That doesn’t mean you couldn’t try adding a bit of blue ultramarine or indigo and see what happens, though!
I just made this and Wow! it is cool. This is the first time I used cajeput EO and it is quite distinctive. I think its what I have been looking for all my (soap) life! I used cajeput, vetiver, lavender EOs, and some black tea and pear FO.
Oooh, lovely! Thanks so much for reading and DIYing with me 🙂
Just made that recipe 3 days ago, amazing!!:) i wish i could upload some pictures here to show results
Hooray! You can upload some to the Humblebee & Me facebook page if you want, or you can tweet ’em at me ❤️